A visitor looking into the display cases in Room 55

Room 55

Mesopotamia 1500–539 BC

The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gallery

Visiting the gallery

Opening times

Daily 10.00–17.30 (20.30 on Fridays)

The civilisations of Babylonia and Assyria flourished during the first millennium BC.

Political developments resulted in the incorporation of the entire Near East into a single empire, while increased international contact and trade influenced the material culture of the region.

Room 55 traces the history of Babylonia under the Kassites and the growth of the Babylonian state and empire until it was taken over by the Persian King Cyrus in 539 BC.

'Boundary Stones' carved with images of kings and symbols of the gods record royal land grants. The development of the Assyrian state and empire, until its fall in 612 BC, is illustrated by objects excavated in its palaces. Mesopotamia's highly developed literature and learning are shown by clay tablets from the library of King Assurbanipal (668–631 BC) at Nineveh, written in cuneiform script.


  • Some objects in this collection feature on the British Sign Language guide handset, available from the audio guide desk in the Great Court.
  • Some objects in this collection feature on the audio description guide, available from audio guide desk in the Great Court.
  • Seating is available.
  • Step-free access. 
  • View sensory map.

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